Dream Wedding

When you picture your dream wedding, what do you envision? Do images of crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and a tropical paradise come to mind? If so, then Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa is perfect for your special day! One of Apple Vacations Destination Weddings’ most revered resorts and November’s “Destination of the Month,” Dreams Riviera has it all.

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Nestled in the secluded Riviera Maya, Dreams Riviera incorporates the best of both worlds. Its prime location makes it especially attractive for both younger couples and families. Half an hour away from Cancun yet minutes away from Playa del Carmen, this resort is within close proximity of the area’s best attractions and landmarks. Tropical gardens, a beach setting suitable for a photo shoot, and limitless activities combine to create a truly unique and magical destination wedding experience. Looking for a quiet evening with your new spouse? Take a walk to the on-site spa for ultimate relaxation. Want to head out for a night on the town? Enjoy the many authentic waterfront restaurants, bars, and shops. Theme parties, live entertainment, nightclubs, euro-bungee jumping, an ocean trampoline, yoga, cooking and dance lessons, Spanish lessons, bocce ball, ocean kayaking, and tennis are just a few of the activities at your fingertips when staying at Dreams Riviera.

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

When it comes to reciting your vows, Dreams Riviera has it covered. Whether you want to gaze into your lover’s eyes and say “I do” on the beach at sunset or in a lavishly decorated and extravagant indoor venue, your wedding is sure to be memorable. Make a statement and provide your guests with a vacation and wedding they are never going to forget.

Your day is special—Apple Vacations Destination Weddings and the Dreams Riviera Cancun resort are here to make sure your wedding runs smoothly and stress-free. Book with us today!

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

‘Dia de los Muertos’ is a grand celebration of life itself!

The Day of the Dead is otherwise known as ‘Dia de los Muertos’ or ‘All Soul’s Day’ and can be traced back for thousands of years. This day is held to honor and remember family members and relatives who have passed away. During the day on November 1st and 2nd, people gather together to pray for lost loved ones. Altars are created to honor the dead and gifts are taken to the graves of the departed. The essence of this beautiful ritual is to lovingly and happily remember the dead relatives, their life, and in this way, give meaning and continuity to human existence. Here are some great places in Mexico that really embrace the Day of the Dead tradition:

Mural from Secrets Hualtuco Photo Credit: Stephanie Diehl, Travel Designed

Mural from Secrets Hualtuco Photo Credit: Stephanie Diehl, Travel Designed

1. Huatulco

Huatulco is one of Mexico’s newest and very unique tourism development areas. The state of Oaxaca has a rich cultural history and guests of Huatulco can take full advantage of interesting opportunities to experience some of Mexico’s charm. Although the Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico, Oaxaca has become known for the ornately richness of its celebrations.  The festivities begin a week before November 1st with the commencement of the “Plaza de los Muertos”, an elaborate initiation held in each city market, and a contest is held to judge the best of the city’s ofrendas.

 

2. Cancun & Riviera Maya

Marketing department at Apple Vacations

Traditional Day of the Dead Face Painting – Photo Credit: Jeff Farinosi

Xcaret is normally a hybrid action-eco-archeological-adventure park about an hour south of Cancun. From October 31-November 2, it transforms into an all out Day of the Dead celebration a.k.a. the Xcaret, “Life and Death Traditions Festival”. For those that really want to embrace the culture, complimentary face painting stands are set up through the park.

 

3. Los Cabos

Encompassing the two towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Lose Cabo, The Day of the Dead Festival is a key festival in Los Cabos throughout the Mexico. Families and loved ones pay their respects by creating spectacular altars that are elaborately decorated with photos, candles and food offerings. The altars are then displayed in the towns main square of Plaza Amelia Wilkes, where the best decorated alter is granted a prize.

 

Dia de Los Muertos skulls - Photo Credit: Travel Designed, Stephanie Dieh

Dia de Los Muertos skulls – Photo Credit: Travel Designed, Stephanie Diehl

4. Puerto Vallarta

There’s plenty to do in Puerto Vallarta to feed your adventurous spirit. Often called the “crown jewel” of the Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, a small fishing town located just 35 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, has become a popular destination. The roots of Mexican culture are deep and complex, as is evident even in a place seemingly as simple as Sayulita: once a fishing and farming pueblo, now a magical, compelling tourist destination. Sayulitans set up alters around town to honor the deceased and there are lovely masses held in the cemetery.

 

5. Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

A varierty of learning opportunities await you in and around Ixtapa for those who enjoy experiencing the real destination behind the resort.  Ixtapa Zihuatanejo hosts a complete festival with lectures about the tradition, photographic exhibitions, traditional dance and music.  Building “altars” with flowers and tokens of the deceased is part of the tradition.  Local vendors will compete for the “Best Altar.” Activities start at the Zihuatanejo Bay with lighting of the area.

Have you visited Mexico for Day of the Dead? Where did you stay?  Feel free to share your comments and stories about your experiences with Day of the Dead traditions in the comments. Or continue this conversation on our facebook page!

Special Thanks to Travel Designed by Stephanie for letting us use her great photographs!

Phillies Baseball Phans, are you ready for an All-Inclusive Phancation?

philliesLogoApple Vacations, a proud sponsor of the Philadelphia Phillies, invites you on an all-inclusive Phancation to Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun hosted by Scott Palmer, the Phillie Phanatic and some of your favorite Phillies VIPs and players this Winter. Take off with Apple Vacations and the Philadelphia Phillies for some – Phun in the Sun – in Cancun’s Riviera Maya. Spend a week enjoying the sunshine, sugar-white sand beaches and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

With Apple Vacations Phun in the Sun Phancation, It’s ALL included!

Prices start at $1499 per person for a full week including:

– Non- stop, round-trip flight on the Phillies Express to Cancun
– Deluxe unlimited luxury hotel accommodations at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun
– ALL meals, drinks, tips and transfers in resort.
– Phancation group photo, gift, private beach parties and games with the Phillies players and VIPs and more!

That’s right, for one affordable price – it’s all included on Apple Vacations’ Phancation!

What could be more fun than a week in the sun in the winter with your favorite Phillies players?

For more details, log on to applevacations.com/phillies. Space is limited!

*Based on double occupancy, includes gov’t taxes & fees. Price is per person from Philadelphia International on Frontier Airlines. 7 nights depart January 5, 2014. Price will vary for other departure cities. Phillies Players and VIP’s are subject to change.

Apple Vacations Live Radio Broadcast from Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

 

Our Friends from WJRZ recently got back from a week-long live broadcast at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, which is one of the Eco-Friendly Resorts we are featured in April for Earth Day.

Glenn Kalina, who has been a radio fixture in the Philadelphia and New Jersey region for many years, travelled with The Magic Morning Show & Diane De Oliviera to Riviera Maya. They broadcasted live each morning from Sandos Caracol Eco Resort. They did an amazing job while they were there, transporting their listening audience practically in to resort with them.  Here are some photos of the broadcast.

If you are looking for an Eco-Friendly resort or a family friendly resort for your next Apple Vacation, make sure you check out Sandos Caracol Eco Resort.

 

Stay at Secrets Resorts & Spas

 One of our employees, Nina M. Scimenes, blogged about her trip to Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun.  We wanted to share her blog with our Juice readers!

Secrets Resorts & Spas is included in Apple Vacations’ Summer Fun for Everyone sale , and it is appropriate because a stay at one of the adults-only beachfront properties is beyond ‘fun’!  You can expect a spectacular beach vacation with the inclusions of Unlimited-Luxury® with spacious accommodations, unlimited top-shelf spirits, gourmet dining without reservations, 24-hour room service, nightly entertainment and more.  What’s not to love?

View of infinity pools at Secrets SIlversands

View of infinity pools at Secrets SIlversands

 

This past July I soaked up the sun for three days at Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun with my best friend.  I loved every second of our getaway.  The resort is very modern and chic and you feel it as soon as you enter the main lobby and see the sculpture of silver fish.  We received a warm welcome from the staff with a cold hand towel and glass of champagne!

 

It was the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. From peaceful pampering at the Secrets Spa by Pevonia, to an exciting bike ride into Puerto Morelos, we enjoyed the best of both worlds. Most of our time was spent lounging poolside near Manatees and sipping on refreshing cocktails at the swim up-bar.   When the sun goes down the party continues with lively entertainment.  One night we enjoyed a captivating performance at ShowTime Theater, Secrets Idol, presented by Secrets Entertainment Team.  Guests competed in a singing competition and the judges were also guests.  The music selection got us on our feet dancing.

Lobby Bar at night

Lobby Bar at night

Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun offered a variety of dining options.  Each morning I enjoyed a hearty breakfast at World Café complete with a Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar! The ceviche at Oceana was one of my favorite meals and it is served al fresco overlooking the main pool.  El Patio is my favorite restaurant at the resort, not just because it serves authentic Mexican cuisine, but the warm ambiance is very inviting and just down right adorable. As soon as you enter the restaurant, there is a tree with blown glass hearts dangling, making the perfect photo opportunity. At least one Mexican meal is a must when in Mexico! I highly recommend the delicious guacamole and El Paster pork tacos. And of course, while we were there, we just had to order 24-hour room service one night for a midnight snack! There is truly something for everyone.

 

With 12 stunning Secrets Resorts & Spas to choose from, there is defiantly a perfect resort for you. Recently, SecretsResorts.com added a resort finder to their newly revamped website. http://www.secretsresorts.com/resort-finder. How clever! By answering a series of questions about what you expect from a vacation, you can find the Secrets Resort that is perfect for you. Sun, sand and special moments are waiting for you. Enjoy your getaway.

 

Hot Wedding Destinations in 2013

 

Considering a destination wedding in 2013? These 5 romantic spots are ideal for tying the knot in style!

1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Caribbean islands are blessed with all the trappings for a spectacular destination wedding: powder-fine sand, crystal-clear waters and romantic resorts aplenty. But lately the tropic sun seems to shine brightest on the resort area of Punta Cana, thanks to new direct flights from wallet-friendly airlines AirTran and Frontier, it makes getting to this breathtaking (and affordable) stretch of paradise a cinch. The plethora of choices extends to lodging as well. No matter your style, there’s a resort for you: All-inclusive ease!  Resorts in this popular wedding locale come with staff planners to handle the work and packages that make pricing a breeze.

Travel Tip — Welcome your guest! Leave a gift bag in each room full of goodies for your guest. Don’t forget suntan lotion and trinkets to remind them of your wedding destination when they’re back at home.

2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Fiestas don’t get any more authentic than in Puerto Vallarta. It’s the perfect spot to welcome guests with icy margaritas and exchange “I do’s” as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Sheltered by the jungled landscapes of the Sierra Madre Mountains to the east with romantic views of the Pacific to the west, Vallarta provides an exotic blend of cosmopolitan culture, Mexican flavor and nature at her best. Vallarta is home to Banderas Bay, where you can enjoy the thrill of whales up close from December through April. Vallarta is divided into two general areas: Puerto Vallarta to the south and Riviera Nayarit to the north.

3. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Exchange vows on this island paradise where reggae, romance and the Caribbean sun come together. Pioneers of the all-inclusive vacation concept, you won’t find an island that does it better. For many, it’s positively addictive. The country’s pulsating heartbeat is embodied by soulful cuisine, lively reggae and generous smiles from locals who love to show off their country. Getting married here is so simple that more visitors than Jamaicans are wed on the island every year.

Travel Tip – Planning an off-season wedding or honeymoon (May – Dec) can help you save big on hotels & other costs. Jamaica’s tropical climate does not vary from season to season so marry in the “off-season” and save!

4. Maui, Hawaii – U.S.A.

Maui is a hassle-free place to make a tropical wedding a reality. Both independent wedding planners and onsite coordinators at big resorts can pave the way to I do. There are countless reasons brides and grooms flock to this ever-popular Hawaiian isle. For starters, everything about it seems to cater to couples seeking one romantic experience after another (think unlimited sunsets and picture-perfect beaches). Although Maui’s certain to exceed your expectations as a tropical paradise, its unique inland offerings will give you the opportunity to turn a fantastic beach vacation into an unforgettable adventure. Plus, with direct flights from the mainland, the island is easily accessible for wedding guests.

5. Riviera Maya, Mexico

This 112-mile stretch of coastal paradise, with its white sand beaches fronting turquoise waters, tropical jungles and ancient Mayan ruins, provides the perfect setting for your fairy-tale wedding and heavenly honeymoon.

Travel Tip – While a tropical climate might be great for your tan, it can wreak havoc on big, fluffy satin dresses. Consider lighter-weight fabrics, a shorter hemline or a strapless gown to keep you cool on your wedding day.

 

I Have a Secret – Secrets Capri

 

 

I know you are not supposed to have “favorites” when you work with so many hotels in Mexico & The Caribbean, and if you do, you are not supposed to talk about them right? It’s like, when you have children, you never say which one is really your favorite.  But I do have a favorite Secrets Resort – Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. I love it. I have written about it many times before.  It is currently a part of Apple Vacations SuperSale, so I wanted to feature it here again. If you are considering a vacation at this resort, you are making a great choice.

If you book with Apple Vacations, all of the Secrets Resorts and Spas have non-stop transfers to and from the resort, and you do not need wristbands, dining reservations or towel cards.  The service, staff, dining and amenities are exceptional at all of them as well. They are adults only unlimited luxury ™. Secrets Capri, however just speaks to me from the moment I walk in. It’s a smaller, more manageable resort for me and that is exactly what I prefer on a vacation. It reminds me of a colonial plantation resort on the west coast of Mexico.   It is very easy to walk around, and nothing seems too far away. The pool is a perfect size with space to relax and be alone, but also a pool bar to be social with other guests if you prefer.  The Cactus Club Ceviche & Taco Bar next to the pool and beach, is not to be missed.  Oceana the Fresh Seafood and Seaside Grill & Caribbean Steakhouse offer spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea while you dine.  And, the food at all restaurants is just spectacular. The rooms at Secrets Capri are a perfect size, they are a little bit larger than I was expecting and the bathrooms are beautifully decorated.  Even the beautiful yellow color of the resort is just calming.

Sure Secrets Maroma has one of THE  most amazing beaches in the world, and Secrets Silversands has a spectacular infinity pool and is a bit livelier, and Secrets the Vine is just breathtaking and in the middle of  Cancun, but Secrets Capri has my heart. Vacationing and visiting Secrets Capri is truly treat for me, since most of my vacations are family oriented and this resort is adults only.  But I cannot wait to get back here soon, very soon.